Also, assorted locations in Faerie.
Our Intrepid Hero: Tristran Thorn, a sweet but awkward and somewhat gormless young man of mysterious lineage.
Our Intrepid Heroine: Yvaine, a rather no-nonsense fallen star.
Summarize the plot in one unwieldy run-on sentence that abuses commas and semi-colons with merry abandon: Clueless young man deep in the throes of an infatuation makes a rash promise to retrieve a fallen star for his light o’ love and leaves the known world for the uncharted, unpredictable wildness of Faerie, where he encounters (among other things) a hairy little man(ish sort of creature), two witches, a talking tree, several ghosts (whom he never sees), a prince, a fallen star, assorted inhabitants of Faerie and a partridge in a pear tree (OK, I might be lying about the last); uncovers a hidden talent or two; finds what he thinks he’s looking for; discovers he’s braver and capable of much more than he ever thought possible; loses a great deal of his awkwardness and gains +10 Gormfulness; and ultimately discovers that his heart’s desire isn’t quite what he thought it was.
Also, he learns the truth about his heritage.
CRAP! That was more than one sentence. I lose.
So, what did you think? Oh my Jesus. I love this book like…words fail me. Like bike nuts loves fixies. Like a pirate loves booty. Like hipsters love vinyl and irony. Like emo kids love the taste of bitter, bitter tears.
Dude, aren’t you a little late on the Gaiman-love bandwagon? Well, kind of, but kind of not. See, I bought this book when it first came out. I was introduced to Gaiman via Good Omens, and The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish cemented my desire to glom his backlist, so I went ahead and bought all his published novels. Which were, at the time, Stardust and Neverwhere.
Uh huh. And it took you HOW long to get around to reading this? Shut up.
…OK, about nine years. It’s been so long, the edition I have is completely out of print and I have to link to the froofy trade paperback edition on Amazon because that’s what’s available right now. What’s wrong with me? Seriously. *cries*
Your self-flagellation tires me. Y’know, for a construct I ripped off from mightygodking’s Livejournal movie reviews, you’re kind of a…
Yeah yeah yeah. Whatevs. What did you like best? The Faerie universe Gaiman creates. The dude really, really knows how to build a world that’s not only convincing, but that makes me actively wish that the world actually exists. This hasn’t happened to me in a very, very long time, and it has to do with Gaiman’s uncanny ability to tap into the bits of my brain that read with the wide-eyed wonder and credulity of a child. In the past several years, I’ve read books that were better-written than Stardust—ones that touched me more, that made me think harder, that moved me to take action in ways that Stardust never can—but none have made me ache with the wish that the world between their pages was real; none of them made me wonder that if I closed my eyes and walked across the field full of frogs behind my apartment on a night with a full moon, I might open my eyes to find a girl with cat’s-ears and purple eyes, a fine silver chain snaking from her ankle and across the grass.
In fact, just about the only complaint I have about the story is that I want more of it. Gaiman wantonly strews seeds of potential short stories—entire novels, actually—throughout the book. Where did the Lilim come from? How are they ended? And all those lovely, exciting adventures that Tristran and Yvaine go on while making their way back to Wall and the market, and before they return to You-Know-Where at the end so they could become You-Know-What—I want to read about those, too, dammit, instead of having them summarized in short paragraphs. They’re perfectly lovely paragraphs, and they did their job in the usual fairy tale-ish way, but gah I want more more more dagnabbit when’s he going to write another book set in this world and eeeeeeeeeeeeee.
You’re alarmingly squeaky when you gush. Well, shit yeah. I also get squeaky when I’m indignant. I’m short. I’m high-pitched. Squeaky is kind of the default tone you get with me.
And what did you think of the ending? It was perfect. I loved its slight bittersweetness, and I liked that Gaiman didn’t cop out and wrap everything up with too neat a bow.
This is a stupid question, but I’m going to ask it anyway: So, I guess you highly recommend this book? As my friend Katie would say: Hell ass tits goddamn motherfucking YES. In fact, if you’re an even bigger loser than I am and haven’t read this book yet, and if you’re in any way a fan of fairy tales—not those watered-down namby-pamby ripoffs of the Brothers Grimm you see nowadays, but a fairy tale with teeth, sharp sharp teeth—then I highly recommend that you buy, borrow or steal a copy of this book and read it. Read it now.